The Piercing Truth

This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes

Apr 14, 2008

Irony and Slavery

As everyone knows by now, the state's Human Rights Commission has done a terrible wrong. The story ran last Friday under the headline "State: It's Discrimination" (ABQ Journal - Subscription). We had other more pressing matters last week that prevented us from taking a look at what has to be one of the more frightening decisions we've seen from an appointed commission in some time.

It's not that we don't understand where this type of decision comes from... we do. In political circles there's tremendous pressure to grant certain groups super-rights. It's the same type of logic used to create "hate crime" legislation. In essence, government extends special protections not afforded to the general population to specific groups that claim and are recognized as societal victims.

In this case, a private photography business refused to sell their services to one of these specially protected and self-identified groups and told them why in an email.

The irony here is that Vanessa Willock the plaintiff in the matter, was attempting to hire Elane Huguenin of Elane Photography to photograph her commitment ceremony. In other words, Elane Photography was being hired to photograph a ceremony that was a public expression of Ms. Willock and her partner's beliefs. By all accounts Elane Huguenin refused to provide service based on her own beliefs.

Without going into the specifics of these two differing belief systems - which by the way don't matter in the least - the conflict that resulted in Ms Huguenin being ordered to pay for Ms. Willock's attorney's fees ($6,637.93) arose from conflicting belief systems. By ruling in favor of Ms. Willock the New Mexico Human "Rights" Commission chose in favor of a particular belief system.

One would ask if the commission would have ruled the same way if the photographer in question had specialized in commitment ceremonies and refused to photograph a traditional marriage or if a photographer specialized in Jewish weddings refused to do a Christian wedding.

The danger of the ruling is that it directly affects the right of a business to refuse service. When the state compels the service of a private person or business they are taking away their freedom not to work for someone else - a condition known as slavery.

The commission's ruling also manages to trample on a number of other rights such as freedom of association, speech, and religion. But who cares about the rights of someone who's not in a protected class?

By creating protected classes and granting groups "super-rights" we are establishing the exact type of governmental discrimination that commissions like the state Human Rights Commission were formed to end. This latest decision is a danger to every group, in every class because it takes away our freedom to say no.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the surface it makes no sense at all but since I'm a straight, white, male, non-native resident who pays taxes like everybody else my opinion won't matter much. Wahooo!

Anonymous said...

This has to stop! Not only is the goverment shoving belief systems down our throats, but allowing this lawsuit goes beyond the pale. Why wasn't this suit dismissed as frivilous? As a city employee, I am forced every day to TOLERATE my co-workers, which I do. Key word: TOLERATE, meaning I put up with, but I choose not to associate with them. So now what? Am I going to be sued because I choose not to
be-friend these people? Good God, what next????

Anonymous said...

Huck the Fuman Rights Commission!

Anonymous said...

I use to shoot weddings. If I had a potential client that I didn't want to work with I just bid real high. Most the time I'd never hear from them again.

If they bit then it was worth the $2000 for a couple of hours on a Saturday.

Unfortunately for Elane she was trying to be truthful. I guess the truth doesn't set you free.

Anonymous said...

If I owned a deli and I did not allow black people to eat, would this be an act this blog supports?

There is a protected class, but you have identified the wrong group. Why do you focus on a tiny minority of individuals that might receive some consideration but you will not look at the upper class in this country.

You will Bitch about a person who gets into a college because they are a minority, but you never mention people who get in because daddy is an alum. Harvard has 18% of all spots reserved for legacies, and these legacies applicants do not even need to meet the minimum requirements established by the institution. Do you really believe Bush would have gotten into Yale had his daddy not attended the same institution.

Nepotism is the true injustice that must be ended. And nepotism exists for all groups, but those with most access benefit most from this injustice. The class with the most power and access is white male so they benefit from nepotism more than any other group. This is the injustice underrepresented groups are fighting. I guess the author of this blog does not want equal access because his children might have to compete and they might lose.

Anonymous said...

What if I had a coffee shop and refused to serve cops? What about that!

Anonymous said...

To: Nepotism

check out the city fire department about 80% are the fire chief and mayor's friends and relatives

and guess what they are all hispanic

Anonymous said...

RE: deli

I'm not sure your argument is consistent with what the blogger is saying. I think it's more like if you had a kosher deli and you refused to serve non-jews. Your argument illustrates an example involving racism while the photographer took issue with a sexual persuasion (I know that was loaded but couldn't think of any other way to say it). Is that a protected class?

Anonymous said...

This is a sit on the fence topic. While I agree that if you own your own business then you can make your own choices on who you "serve". The dilemma is, well the time prior to the 1960's.

It can just open up a whole can of worms if people can just start refusing service due to prejudices. That is why there is a law to protect EVERYONE!

Unfortunately if you want to deny services it looks like you have to put your own morals on the line, and lie.


Prejudices can affect everyone, no matter what background we come from. That is why there is a law that (in theory) is supposed to make an even playing field for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned for the honest people of this world. No one should HAVE to to accept anyone's business if they choose not to! The judgement against this company is truely a disgrace to our justice system. It is even embarrassing! Don't they have to have some intellegence to be a justice? I know that one of the selling points of my insurance company was that at some point I might be sued. I think I understand what my agent meant now. I hope I never need to make a claim!

Anonymous said...

Real MEN don't have to lead by intimidation. Real MEN lead by example and the respect they earn from their troops.
Loyalty is fake on the 5th & 11th floor. When it come right down to it they're all no better than a pack of jackles, just waiting for those at top to slip up.
Be careful those at the top, your surrounded by lots of jackles.

Anonymous said...

Sexual orientation is protected by law. This goes both ways, look at UNMPD a couple weeks ago. They were advised to settle a discrimination case where two hetrosexual officers were sueing because they were discriminated against in favor of homosexual officers.

If you are in business or just in life keep your personal opinions to yourself. If you don't want to serve everyone then you should not be in business in America.

Anonymous said...

This sort of is the antithesis of the "Genos" case in Philly recently whre it was found that the owner had a right to post the "This is America order in English" sign on his door. It seems to me that the discreationary thing to do for these patrons was simply to find another photog, because by now appearing to be a couple of "Whiners" they have hurt the cause of other gay citizens.

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't cooment on UNM case unless you know all the facts, which the poster might, but those facts shoulda been added to your comments

Anonymous said...

Wow! Those officers had to settle??? I hope they got a pack of money to keep away the pack of jackals!!

Anonymous said...

The point is that this *is* America...not Russia, not China, or even France. What happens to the restaurant with a sign reading "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Has that, too, become outlawed?

The premise of civil rights was to protect individuals from government or community based discrimination which prevented persons from securing basic necessities. Having your picture taken has no bearing on your ability to obtain food, shelter and services paid for by tax dollars.

Refusing a service to someone which requires your participation in a practice that is against your morals, or you find distasteful, is your right as a business owner in a free-market society. Apparently New Mexico no longer has a free-market philosophy.

Hail, comrade!

Anonymous said...

Be it foreknown that this business reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason or no reason at all including that I have chosen to prejudge you and just don’t f***ing like you don’t like your attitude or just because I think you are stupid. --The Management

Anonymous said...

Re:
"If you are in business or just in life keep your personal opinions to yourself. If you don't want to serve everyone then you should not be in business in America."

EXCUSE ME???

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness in business, or in life, I AM (and should be) protected by the law ..... and because of the law (and most importantly, the constitution of this country) ..... I don't need or have to keep any opinion "to myself" if that is my desire!

Anonymous said...

YO !!
If I don't wanna serve you my 'Philly Cheestake', 'cause you can't speak the freaking English language, then screw you, I ain't gonna serve you.
You come around wit dat Arab, Mohammad shit, same goes.
I'm just saying.............

Anonymous said...

You can put up a sign to reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, but when you state your refusal is based upon their color, religon, sexual orientation, race etc you are in the wrong.

The constitution does not give you the right to discriminate.

Anonymous said...

I'm wit ya' cuz' YO- You come up all on me wit that gay shit and all, hell yeah--I'm like to go all delta force on ya', YA FEEL ME??
I'm just sayin'....HOLLA..

Anonymous said...

People quit bitching and do something!!!! If you feel the city and state are to liberal then affect some change. There is no problem unless you have a solution. The whining and crying is getting old from you spineless oxygen thieves!!!!!!!

HenryBowman said...

The NMHRC's decision is truly lacking any real legal reasoning, as well. Eugene Volokh, a highly-respected 1st Amendment professor at UCLA, has written quite a bit on this particular deciion, which he regards as terrible [from a legal standpoint]. Interested folks should read his analysis.

Anonymous said...

Oxygen thieves ?
Ok, here's a solution.
Take Bill Mahr and all the rest of the liberals in this country and drown them.

Anonymous said...

Everyone gripes about liberal this liberal that, so why when voting time comes around, do they keep getting re-elected over and over again?
I mean come on people, why is everyone so afraid to vote Republican in this state???????
I think it might be a nice change...

Anonymous said...

" There is no problem unless you have a solution."

April 15, 2008 6:44:00 PM MDT

So based on that logic cancer wouldn't be a problem.

Anonymous said...

what happened to the eye ???????

Anonymous said...

"So based on that logic cancer wouldn't be a problem"

Not unless you classify Liberalism as a disease!

Anonymous said...

New Mexico is rapidly becoming a fascist state. My question: who was the judge in the case? A lot of persons of the gay persuasion have populated Bernalillo County courts, such as Judge Linda Vanzi. She is entitled to compete for a judicial position, but should not have been so fast-tracked because she was gay. She sucks as a judge, and is very corrupt. Case in point - giving Marty a third term. She is a law unto herself, and needs to be booted out - gay or not! Perhaps we could have solved the problem by asking her to photograph the commitment ceremony. .

Anonymous said...

Yo ! Vote republican. Others vote Democratic 'cause they THINK they will gain some recognition from one of the (Dem) political hacks to secure themselves a yob or position. That's the reason why this state is in this constant state of moronic, 'Patron', dumb ass flux. God only knows that the majority of jobs and positions handed out for political favors are held by the culture who otherwise couldn't get or hold a job somply by their own merits, otherwise the Wal-Marts would be filling more positions. On the other hand, if all the appointed positions dried up and the Dems had to go look for work instead of the handout, there'd be more crime, (Really HAVE to work for a living) Simly out of the question.
I'm just saying...........

McNulty said...

Right on...this "patron" system got to go! All the Mannies, Richardsons, Chavezs, enuf already! We're done with you and your kickbacks, favoritism, nepotism, all that shit. It didn't work,it doesn't work and hasn't worked for a long time-so go away already!
Try something new in New Mexico-VOTE REPUBLICAN!!!

Anonymous said...

This brand of sickness is getting worse. Sandia National Laboratories recently sent communication to all of its white employees to attend diversity classes. Persons of other races were not expected to attend. Are whites the only ones at Sandia Labs with diversity issues?? Wasn't my experience there, that's for sure. There is a very clear anti-caucasian racial prejudice in this state, and I for one am sick and tired of it. This is one of the classical signs that our U.S. civilization is in decline.

Anonymous said...

Enough with this poor me shit. Every nationality except the whites are bitching 'cause this country owes them and they are not getting their due. They all want free medical,free food,passes on criminal behavior,never make enough or are too damn lazy to make enough money to pay taxes for all this free shit, but it's Ok for whitey to keep taking it in the shorts for the sloth minorities that want everything handed to them without doing their fair share. You either work, earn a living or die. Speak English,get off drugs,go to work and stop comitting crimes ASSHOLE MFs !!!!!
Forget about it.

Anonymous said...

fugedaboudit!

Anonymous said...

The constitution applies to US Citizens. If you are a US citizen then assistance should be provided with limits (welfare for 1 year). If after this time you cannot support yourself then we have a problem. Sure there may be exceptions however it should last no longer than 6 months. Having additional children or living in government housing should not extend benefits. Become a contributing part of society not a burden. Just by increasing employed personnel monitoring this should reduce the dead weight we have. Having additional offspring does not automatically extend dependence on the governement. Hell, increase the taxes of the extended families of these leeches and you're sure to see a radical change.

Our fore fathers never ment for the country to support lazy people that have the means to be gainfully employed. Also, if I'm a private business owner I should be able to choose with whom I want to do business with (as long as I am not the sole provider of that comodity). I can't go to a dance company that teaches only Flaminco and require them to teach me square dancing. I can'g go into a night club that plays Hip Hop and require that they play country or pop. I can't go into a home improvement store and require that they sell the same that Bed, Bath,and Beyond sells. No one has unlimited rights...if that were the case then a 21 year old could walk into a movie theater nude, carrying a bottle of beer and say charge me the same as you do a child. Let's hope it never get's to that.

Common sense folks....that's what it is all about!

Anonymous said...

Like Garth said so many years ago, we need to join the American Honky-Tonk Bar Association...

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. I mean, where does it end? Say a photographer, for instance, is refuses to photograph their subjects in, say, their underwear. Can he or she now be SUED for that? Is that discrimination? I know most photographers only shoot that which they feel comfortable shooting. Must they now deny NO ONE for fear of retribution?

What about the right to refuse service? This couple just wanted to make trouble and saw an opportunity. They could have found plenty of other individuals willing to photograph their "commitment ceremony."

All it takes for things such as this to happen is for people to remain silent.

Anonymous said...

To clarify the issue: This is nothing like a restaurant refusing service to a someone of a protected class. The photographer did not discriminate against anyone for BEING homosexual -- she elected not to PARTICIPATE in an EVENT that was an offense to her sincerely held religious beliefs.

Anonymous said...

The commission defined accommodation as a business that chooses to offer services of any kind to the public. This means that everyone needs to abide by New Mexico laws. Sorry, but this photographer is wrong. Sexual Orientation is a protected class. By the way, this could be flip-flopped. If a gay photographer refused to shoot a straight wedding AND stated that it was because he/she didn't agree with the HETEROSEXUAL lifestyle then the commission would have found the gay photographer guilty.

Anonymous said...

Re April 24, 2008 at 9:50 -
In both cases, heterosexual or homosexual, the law as so applied is unconstitutional. The fact that something is a "law" does not make it right. If a person holds a religious moral position against certain conduct be it adultery, pornography, bestiality, or homosexuality, then that person has a protected right under the First Amendment to Free Exercise of Religion. To compel that person to associate with an exercise that violates that person's truly held religious beliefs is clearly a violation of that person's free exercise. To say that someone cannot have a business if he or she wishes to follow their religion is also clearly a violation of the free exercise clause. I, for one, am contributing funds to combat this type of left wing totalitarianism. As for stamping out Christian values, you know Nero failed when he threw Christians to the lions and the current crop of wanna be despots of the left will fail too.

Anonymous said...

This decision would violate Elaine's own freedom of religion, forcing her to do something that is in conflict with her beliefs. It also violates her freedom of speech and freedom of expression as an artist.

Hello, Slavery. So *this* is what you look like in our day...

Anonymous said...

WAAAAAA...It's just getting SO damn hard to be a BIGOT these days!